DVD Review: Silent House

It's got to be hard to make a genre film. With so many tropes to compete with, you have to do something different to try to get recognized. Enter Silent House and its reputation of being the "single-shot" film. Unfortunately, it's not really enough to make it stand out from the crowd.

Continuously followed by a camera, Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is helping her father and uncle clean up the massive, yet dilapidated, family vacation home. As night quickly approaches, very odd noises and events begin to taunt Sarah, but escape from the dark, isolated house becomes impossible.

Silent House may have been ambitious in its experimental filming (though it wasn't really shot in 80 straight minutes), but it wasn't terribly ambitious in any other aspect. I'm not sure if it's the writing or lack of cuts in the action, but for a horror film, Silent House was rather boring. As I watched Olsen walk from room to room, hide under various objects of furniture or silently cry when she can't find a key to escape, my tolerance level for such repetition topped out around the 45-minute mark.

Even though the film wasn't holding my interest, I was still hoping to walk away with some enjoyment from Olsen, who blew me away in last year's Martha Marcy May Marlene. Sadly, the character of Sarah isn't much to go on for most of the action as she just does all the actions stated in the last paragraph. Once the film turned more into a psychological thriller, I couldn't help but feel Olsen blurred the lines of reality much more convincingly in the far more superior MMMM. And by the time inevitable twist was revealed, I was just ready for the shenanigans to end, after a sinking been-there-done-that feeling.

So once the excitement of the "single-shot" wore off after five minutes, Silent House lacked the writing and character development to become more than the gimmick it sold itself as.


  1. I thought Elizabeth Olsen was okay, but I truly loathed the film.

    First off, let's be honest here...this isn't a "horror" movie by any means. The twist was such a cop-out that it only made the movie that much worse.

    You're being too kind with 2 stars.

    1. I'm in the same mindset as Rachel on this one. Though I don't think the twist is a cop-out. It sets it up pretty heavily within the first 10 minutes of the movie and every now and then from that point on. I think the whole movie is set-up around the one-shot and that twist... i.e. the psychology of showing the situation that the twist entails while never cutting away. It's really a fantastic idea... but a really poor execution.

    2. Definitely not a horror film, but I didn't absolutely hate it, which is what I reserve my 1-star for. I just found myself more bored than anything. I agree with Nick that it wasn't a bad idea, just a bad execution. They spent too much time worrying over the camera work than properly executing their story.


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